Keas co-founder and COO George Kassabgi and Business Development Manager Lindsey Volckmann discussed the recent launch of Keas, an online health platform that works with care providers to offer Care Plans to offer users personalized action plans that empower patients to take control of their health. That's the plan, anyway. Volckmann was quick to point out that Keas is not a "typical PHR" (personal health record), Keas is "not just a broad storage repository that gives users access to their health data," the Keas health profile only includes data that helps care plans providers determined the user's needs to customized care plans.
Keas rolled out five care plans for CVS' MinuteClinic and was live in 1,700 more than 560 MinuteClinics by the end of July, while another Keas partner, Quest Diagnostics has a national Keas rollout in 2,200 patient service centers. The start-up also has integration deals with Microsoft HealthVault and Google Health as well as care plan deals with Healthwise, Diabetes Mine and Dr. Greene.
At the Connected Health Symposium here in Boston this week, Keas announced a new care plan partner: The Center for Connected Health and its parent company Partners HealthCare has added its own care plan, which is centered on monitoring exercise. Specifically, the Center for Connected Health plan helps users keep track of how many steps per day they take and how that compares to the average or recommended number of steps people should walk. While the user currently has to manually enter the number of steps they take right now, in the "very near future" Keas said that data will be transferred directly from a pedometer-enabled device. (Could this be the first wireless health-enabled Keas care plan?)
While the care plan is still being tweaked, the initial portal includes a Twitter feed for any tweets that use the word "exercise" and the standard Keas graph of red, yellow and green, which help users visualize how well they are doing adhering to their pedometer plan. The pedometer plan also has surveys to keep users engaged by comparing their preferences to other care plan users. Finally, the plan also includes a map from MapMyFitness of the user's walking trails if their device records location information.
Kassabgi explained that one of the keys to Keas is the social networking aspect of the care plans -- users can engage with other Keas users who are following a similar care plan. The care plan providers can also send direct messages to their care plan's users to announce new features or tweaks to the plan or to offer encouragement or additional resources.
Kassabgi said that the Keas platform will include two new features within the next year: Care giver oversight and Keas coaching.
Right now one Keas user cannot oversee the progress of another Keas user, which is an important feature for caregivers looking after ailing parents or parents whose children are following a care plan. Kassabgi said that the Keas team believes that the most effective care plans will be the ones used in a patient-physician relationshp. Physicians can prescribe a certain Keas care plan, perhaps they themselves designed, as part of the discharge process of a patient. Come January, Kassabgi said that Keas will allow patients to select physicians who can have access to a patient's Keas progress and receive warnings or alerts if intervention is needed.
While Kassabgi compared Keas to eBay or Amazon, not just anyone can create a care plan -- care plan creators need to be vetted by Keas and the creators credentials will be presented to Keas users as part of the plan's pitch. Kassabgi said that care providers, physicians, nurses, nutritionists and healthcare vendors are welcome to participate. (We wonder: Is an iPhone health or fitness app developer a vendor?) Kassabgi stressed, however, that Keas will not make a judgement as to whether a particular care plan is "good" or "bad" since the community will weigh in on that.
UPDATE: From Volckmann: "There are 7,000 CVS stores nationwide. 560+ MinuteClinics nationwide. Keas is available at all MinuteClinics nationwide for 5 acute conditions, namely: flu, sinusitis, bronchitis, pharyngitis, acute laryngitis (strep). A user with one of these acute conditions, who provides their email at the MinuteClinic, can enroll directly in the condition specific Minute Clinic/Keas care plan from the MinuteClinic patient portal."